Wednesday, May 15, 2013
First Pitch: Bye Overbay?
By Andrew Marchand
Lyle Overbay has beaten all the odds this season, but the math may eventually take him out.
From a three-day tryout to standout, Overbay may be left out soon.
He knows it, too. It is hard for teams to carry a backup infielder, who only plays first base.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of it," Overbay told ESPN New York on Tuesday night after he came through with two RBIs, including the game-winning sac fly in the Yankees' 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.
When Mark Teixeira comes back, there may not be room for Overbay. Going on the assumption that Travis Hafner will be healthy, there is really no way you can have a DH only and a first base-only player on the roster when your regular first baseman will be in the lineup every day. Especially, if Kevin Youkilis is also back to spell Teixeira when need be.
Having Teixeira, Hafner, Youkilis and Overbay would severely limit Joe Girardi's flexibility.
The problem for the Yankees is that when Teixeira comes back, they are going to want to be careful with him. So they could have Overbay stick around as insurance to try to make sure that Teixeira's wrist is OK. Still, that is unlikely to last long-term.
This potential dilemma is no one's fault really, even if it is an injustice to Overbay. Overbay has been a savior and a sensational story. His first six weeks have been as good as Teixeira usually produces.
This issue is still a little bit away as Teixeira probably is likely not coming back until June at the earliest. But it is just another sidelight in this extraordinary roster story of 2013.
On Tuesday night against Felix Hernandez, Overbay's double scored the Yankees' first run in the sixth. In the seventh, his sac fly brought home the go-ahead run. The guy has had a tremendous run.
With all this said, there is the Joe Torre theory that states injuries or other factors often take care of decisions like that. So perhaps this will never actually come up. But if Texieira, Youkilis and Hafner return strong eventually, it is hard to see where Overbay fits.
"I know," Overbay said. "It will work itself out, but I understand those are things that they have to worry about it. Stranger things happen. It is hard because you don't want to think about it. Obviously, you have thought about it. I just want to enjoy this time.
"I just look at it as nothing personal. It is just kind of the way it is."
ON DECK: I have a column that will be up around noon about how Mariano Rivera's comeback ranks with the most iconic of all-time. I spoke to TBS MLB analyst Dennis Eckersley about Mo. Mark Simon will have a blog, examining Rivera's numbers so far.